data visualization for librarians

Eaton, M. E. (2017). Seeing Seeing Library Data: A Prototype Data Visualization Application for Librarians. Journal of Web Librarianship, 11(1), 69–78. Retrieved from

Visualization can increase the power of data, by showing the “patterns, trends and exceptions”

Librarians can benefit when they visually leverage data in support of library projects.

Nathan Yau suggests that exploratory learning is a significant benefit of data visualization initiatives (2013). We can learn about our libraries by tinkering with data. In addition, handling data can also challenge librarians to improve their technical skills. Visualization projects allow librarians to not only learn about their libraries, but to also learn programming and data science skills.

The classic voice on data visualization theory is Edward Tufte. In Envisioning Information, Tufte unequivocally advocates for multi-dimensionality in visualizations. He praises some incredibly complex paper-based visualizations (1990). This discussion suggests that the principles of data visualization are strongly contested. Although Yau’s even-handed approach and Cairo’s willingness to find common ground are laudable, their positions are not authoritative or the only approach to data visualization.

a web application that visualizes the library’s holdings of books and e-books according to certain facets and keywords. Users can visualize whatever topics they want, by selecting keywords and facets that interest them.

Primo X-Services API. JSON, Flask, a very flexible Python web micro-framework. In addition to creating the visualization, SeeCollections also makes this data available on the web. JavaScript is the front-end technology that ultimately presents data to the SeeCollections user. JavaScript is a cornerstone of contemporary web development; a great deal of today’s interactive web content relies upon it. Many popular code libraries have been written for JavaScript. This project draws upon jQuery, Bootstrap and d3.js.

To give SeeCollections a unified visual theme, I have used Bootstrap. Bootstrap is most commonly used to make webpages responsive to different devices

D3.js facilitates the binding of data to the content of a web page, which allows manipulation of the web content based on the underlying data.


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